Girlfriend, 29, killed father-of-four, 33, by plunging three-inch blade into his heart


A girlfriend killed her father-of-four boyfriend by plunging a three-inch blade into his heart as he told her, ‘I love you’. 

Tonia Crabtree, 29, has been jailed for less than five years for killing Craig Morse, 33. 

Mr Morse initially punched Crabtree before trying to grab a kitchen knife from her to stop her from self-harming during their drunken and violent row, Derby Crown Court was told. 

In the struggle she brandished the blade and the weapon went through his chest and into his heart.  

Mr Morse then held on to her, uttered his last words of ‘I love you’ and fell to the floor of her flat in Langley Mill and died.

Craig Morse, 33

A ‘pure evil’ girlfriend killed her father-of-four boyfriend by plunging a three-inch blade into his heart as he told her, ‘I love you’. Tonia Crabtree (left), 29, has been jailed for less than five years for killing Craig Morse (right), 33

Crabtree has been jailed for four years and nine months after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of her partner. Their relationship was described as toxic in court.

And in a victim personal statement read out at the sentencing hearing, the victim’s father told her: ‘God shall forgive you but I never will’.

Dillwyn Morse, 56, said: ‘She’s pure evil. My hatred for her is all consuming.’ 

Sentencing Crabtree, Judge Nirmal Shant QC, Honorary Recorder of Derby, said: ‘Mr Morse’s death has unsurprisingly had a huge impact on the lives of those who loved him.

‘Nothing I can do to you today will diminish the grief they have suffered and will continue to suffer.

‘Sadly, even in his dying moments it is clear you loved him and he loved you. But it was a toxic relationship.’

Adrian Langdale QC, prosecuting, said the killing happened shortly before 2am on April 3.

He said Crabtree had moved to Derbyshire from Stoke-on-Trent and that Mr Morse, who is also from the Potteries town, was staying at her flat.

Mr Morse (pictured) initially punched Crabtree before trying to grab a kitchen knife from her to stop her from self-harming during their drunken and violent row, Derby Crown Court was told

Mr Morse (pictured) initially punched Crabtree before trying to grab a kitchen knife from her to stop her from self-harming during their drunken and violent row, Derby Crown Court was told

Mr Langdale said both the defendant and the victim had been drinking heavily and had been arguing in the lead up to stabbing with her receiving a black eye and also slapping and punching Mr Morse. 

He said: ‘Craig Morse was stabbed to the left side of the chest in a front-to-back direction.

‘The knife went into the chest and the main right heart ventricle. It was 9cm long and that is almost the entire length of the blade.’

Mr Langdale said Mr Morse staggered out of the kitchen and into the main bedroom where Crabtree’s brother Daniel and his partner were sleeping.

Reading from Mr Crabtree’s account he told the police he said: ‘Craig was screaming and came into the bedroom saying ”she’s stabbed me, she’s stabbed me, I should not have done it” meaning hit her.

‘He struggled back, raised his arms and pulled her in as if to cuddle her.

‘He told her he loved her, his body went limp and he collapsed in the hallway.’ 

Crabtree would have been more than three times the legal drink-drive limit when she stabbed Mr Morse. 

Mr Morse’s father said: ‘I feel like my heart and very soul has been ripped out and this violent act has killed us all in a way.

‘Tonia, you broke God’s first commandment and you will have to face him one day.

‘God shall forgive you, but I never will.’ 

Clive Stockwell QC, mitigating, said his client has self-harmed since she was a teenager after being abused as a child.

He said she had been in and out of a number of violent relationships and had moved from Stoke to Derbyshire to get away from Mr Morse but their relationship rekindled.

Mr Stockwell said: ‘At no point did Tonia Crabtree intend to cause any injury to Craig Morse.

‘She was not looking to hurt him, she was not looking to cause him any physical injury because she loved him and he loved her.

‘She held him while he was suffering. ”I am sorry, I am sorry, I love you” were her first words.

‘She jabbed out that night to ward off Craig Morse to prevent him from stopping her from achieving what she wanted to achieve and that is cutting herself which, over the years, has given her temporary release.

‘This was in the heat of the moment and was one motion and regretted immediately.’ 

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